Tag Archives: punk

Frnkiero Andthe Cellabration Headlining Tour Dates

frnkiero

Ex-My Chemical Romance guitarist Frank Iero has been taking the underground by storm since his noise punk band released .Stomachaches. in the summer of 2014. While it’d be easy to pin the success Frnkiero Andthe Cellabration have on the ten-mile-high MCR platform Iero had to jump from, the debut record clearly deserves notoriety in its own right. So much so, that the New Jersey basement sounds have earned a headlining spot on a tour with Against Me!.

The band’s headlining dates are selective and, for the Coasters, somewhere off the beaten path. But even if you can’t catch those shows, you can catch Frnkiero Andthe Cellabration on their supporting run with Against Me! in June and early July. Want tickets? Yeah, thought so.

HEADLINING SHOWS:

July 20 – Portland, OR – Doug Fir
July 21 – Boise, ID – The Crux
July 22 – Salt Lake City, UT – The Loading Dock
July 24 – Omaha, NE – The Waiting Room
July 25 – Oklahoma City, OK – The Conservatory
July 26 – St. Louis, MO – Off Broadway

frnkiero tour dates

OTHER DATES:

JUNE 15: Raleigh, NC, Lincoln Theatre
JUNE 16: Charleston, SC – Music Farm
JUNE 17: Columbia, SC – Music Farm Columbia
JUNE 18: Norfolk, VA – Norva Theater
JUNE 19: Sayreville, NJ – Starland Ballroom
JUNE 20: Lancaster, PA – Chameleon Club
JUNE 21: Silver Spring, MD – The Fillmore
JUNE 23 : Pittsburgh, PA – Altar Bar
JUNE 24: Buffalo, NY – Town Ballroom
JUNE 26: Detroit, MI – St Andrews Hall
JUNE 27: Cincinnati, OH – Bogart’s
JUNE 28: Cleveland, OH – House of Blues – Cleveland
JUNE 30: Columbus, OH – Newport Music Hall
JULY 1: Indianapolis, IN-Deluxe at Old National
JULY 3: Madison, WI – Majestic Theatre
JULY 5: Des Moines, IA – Wooly’s
JULY 7: Bloomington, IL – The Castle Theater
JULY 8: Grand Rapids, MI – Intersection
JULY 11: Winnipeg, MB – Garrick Theatre
JULY 12: Saskatoon, SK – O’Brian’s Event Centre
JULY 14: Edmonton, AB – Union Hall
JULY 15: Calgary, AB – MacEwan Hall
JULY 17: Vancouver, BC – Vogue Theatre
JULY 19: Seattle, WA – Neptune Theatre

Interview with Dawson Scholz of The Ongoing Concept

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Photo via Jerry Graham Publicity

When you think “Do It Yourself,” you are probably thinking about self-promotion, self-production, and self-release.  However, sometimes doing things yourself also can mean making it yourself, as was the case with The Ongoing Concept‘s second full-length release, Handmade. In one of the most unexpected and delightfully surprising moves in the contemporary scene, The Ongoing Concept broke ground when they announced they had physically handmade all of the instruments they used to record their latest record. 

From cutting down trees, finding the perfect angles to shape a drum head, and writing a solid follow up to their debut, we caught up with vocalist and guitarist Dawson Scholz to get the inside scoop on all the handcrafted work that went into bringing about Handmade.

What was the mindset going into writing and recording Handmade?
We are always changing so I feel our mindset is never consistent, but I know we went into it wanting it to be something other than a Saloon 2.0. We wanted something raw, something from the ground up, and overall, we wanted something that was a concept without it being a typical “concept album” that involves some sort of lyrical or story type theme.

How did you plan to follow up after Saloon was so well received?
We didn’t really know to be honest. Saloon was years in the making. It felt like our life’s work and to follow up with any debut album is tough. We spent months and months writing. We weren’t going to submit an “OK” album so we were prepared to take longer than expected to get the record done. If we weren’t happy with the product, we weren’t going to release it.

What have been some other major musical influences you guys have had?
It might sound really cliché or even stupid to say this but for the past two records, my major musical influences hasn’t been music at all. I found that what influences me is not the music itself, but the drive, branding, or just the overall influence the artist who releases that music has on the culture or scene at that particular time. I have always wondered how certain songs become songs or even records we listen to for years and years after they are released and how others become a fad for a particular month or year. There is a way certain bands have captivated people with their records. They have made them works of art, something beautiful, something you think back on later and still go, “Wow, this album is still great.” I look at bands like Underoath, Bring Me The Horizon, or even Brand New. I don’t really even listen to these bands, but they have become huge influences of mine because they have left a huge imprint of what music is today. 

So for this album you guys actually handmade the instruments you used to record with. What inspired this action?
We have always been a “do it yourself” type band. We are drawn to doing things we never thought we could do. We have always been into concepts (as our name kind of states). [Laughs] I love concept albums and how they bring about a story or an idea into something whole. I wanted to do a concept album, but I didn’t want to do an album that was a story or some lyrical concept that unfolded throughout ten songs. I wanted something beyond the actual music itself. I was looking up building a guitar one day and the whole handmade concept hit me. It seemed impossible at the time to pull something like that off and I think that in itself is what inspired me.

Do you guys have a background in wood shop or did you learn how to do all of this for the project?
We have built our own guitar cabs and stuff but no, no wood shop background class at all. Kyle [Scholz, vocals and keys] does a lot of construction so I guess that helped a lot. Most of it was trial and error though. It was a bit nerve-racking to be honest.

What was the most difficult thing you guys had to make?
Certain parts of the building process were a one chance don’t mess this up type deal, most notably the part where we routed the edge of the drum shells. Kyle had to do a ton of math and very articulate cuts to get that very fine slopped edge the drum head sits on to create the resonance of the drum shell. Messing that up would’ve meant the drum shell was basically not useable anymore. Kyle is kind of a genius so a lot of that went over my head and I have no idea how he accomplished it.

How many trees were cut down in the process of making this album?
Just one. It was a fairly large tree. We actually have a lot left over which we may use to make some cool little pre-order incentives!

What led you to want to do a video documentation of hand making these instruments?
In this day, people want proof of everything. Saying we built it all from hand is not good enough. We just wanted to actually show that all this happened. Also, there is a lot more that goes into making an instrument that can’t really be explained without some sort of visual. We wanted to show everything, even our mistakes.

You guys have such a fun album cover. What inspired the image you guys chose to use for the album?
Thank you! We tried out a few different album covers but ended up with that one. We were kind of wanting to go back to the classic rock type records. We feel bands have strayed away from album covers that incorporate the band itself. So many classic rock albums are iconic for that. I thought it would be a good way to promote the whole handmade concept.

the-ongoing-concept-handmade

What would you say are some of your favorite tracks on the album and why?
I think my favorite songs would be “Unwanted,” “Amends,” “Soul,” and even “Melody.” I feel those songs are our most poppy and mature songs so far.

Can we expect the return of a banjo on any of these upcoming tracks?
Ha! No, you won’t unfortunately. The banjo fit “Cover Girl” but there weren’t any songs on this new album that fit having a banjo again. Maybe you will see it again but we won’t put it in another song unless we feel it actually fits.

Do you guys have any music videos currently planned in support of Handmade?
We have two in the works right now. Be on the lookout for them!

This is your second record with Solid State Records after previously releasing two independent EPs. How has the transition been from self-­releasing your work to having a label been the last few years?
Having a label behind you makes it much more of a business than a hobby. A lot more money is involved. Releasing those two EPs felt much more like a fun hobby than an actual job.

You guys have an upcoming tour with Dayseeker that was just announced. How are you guys preparing for those shows?
Kyle is actually getting married here in the next couple weeks so it’s been a bit hard to prepare. I think you can easily expect to see us play a few songs from the new album though!

What sets a show with The Ongoing Concept apart?
I feel we bring a really fun and memorable show. I don’t want our band to be that cool movie you saw in theaters but wasn’t quite good enough to pay the $10 to see it again. I feel each member brings something different and we try to keep the audience guessing.

Describe The Ongoing Concept in one word.
Ongoing.

Video Premiere: The Ongoing Concept “Unwanted”

The Ongoing Concept

The Ongoing Concept broke the scene with their 2013 debut full-length Saloon and have been pushing the boundaries of hardcore, punk and metalcore ever since.  Now preparing for the release of their second LP through Solid State Records, The Ongoing Concept have taken a different approach to getting around the high costs needed in making an album aptly titled Handmade–they’re hand making all of their instruments.

Over the last few weeks the quartet has been teasing various tracks from the record through their YouTube series in which they actually document the craftsmanship that went into bringing their instruments from trees to rock ‘n’ roll weapons. And now, finally, The Ongoing Concept is giving fans a chance to hear the first single off of their new record with the release of the music video for “Unwanted.”  Continusously carrying out the DIY aesthetic implicated through the recording process of Handmade, the video for “Unwanted” follows suit as the band serves as the stars, directors, and even camera men for the video’s entirety.

Take a look at four guys rocking out with a giant camera in a hall of mirror for three and a half minutes and let us know what you think of The Ongoing Concept’s fun new approach to contemporary DIY.

DIY: Dead or Materialized

DIY

If you want something done right, do it yourself; unless, of course,  you can’t afford it.

The majority of hardcore and punk was founded on a DIY ethos, something that HXC has taken to heart and pursued itself.  However, in a world filled with YouTube stars and not-so-independent indie labels, it’s kind of hard to remain loyally underground when you can Google a band’s Facebook page and follow them on Twitter.  Everyone has an agenda, everyone has a way to be heard.  That’s why people make music. That’s why people write.  That’s why we put it on the internet, so people will find it.  The most DIY thing you can do nowadays would ironically be to keep everything you do to yourself because otherwise you’re helping fund major industry ploys like various social media outlets as the internet continues its shameless take over.

Let’s look at DIY as the mindset of finding funding, promotions, gigs and profits all on your own in an attempt to 1.) avoid the corruption of your art by industry heads or 2.) because you simply don’t have the proper financial backing to pay for the industry established services you need.  In the end, DIY keeps things local and directly in and of the scene they spawn from.

“My name’s Blurryface and I care what you think.”

This line is sung by Tyler Joseph of twenty one pilots on their latest single “Stressed Out.”  While twenty one pilots is far from hardcore, from punk, and from being a band I’d ever admit to listening to regularly, this song has some serious significance in the modern music scene and beyond.

Beginning with the tell-tale tragedy of being incapable of making something original in modern music because every chord progression, lyrical concept, rhyme, and reason has been exhausted time and time again, Joseph extends his song’s meaning to life in general.  We all begin as innocent, imaginative kids chasing our dreams only to get suffocated by the millennial dilemma of needing to make money just to survive.  Can you really compromise your art for cash? Do you have to? The idea of “originality” is now determined simply by who can do what’s been done before better because we are no longer in an age of “do it yourself” but of “do it better.”  And in the end, once we all get wrapped up in that school of thought, are we even the artists we started out as to begin with? “My name’s Blurryface and I care what you think.”

Perhaps “do it better,” or DIB, really is the future of music. DIY is now just a part of the major production of it all. We have seen multiple times how a DIY aesthetic can make or break a movement, early punk and hardcore being the most prominent flag ship examples.  However, there are numerous other music realms that have greatly benefitted from the DIY momentum.  EDM, dubstep, house, and basically the entirety of contemporary electronica is rooted in self-serving, SoundCloud blaring, warehouse playing DIY promotions.  Who needs a label and a studio when you have a laptop, social media and a solid wifi connection? The same can be said of the major indie revival that has been taking over the airwaves these last five years.  Many cool cats and Brooklynites have been able to get their sound out simply through connections and home studios, thus growing into their own, as we saw with Bon Iver and Grizzly Bear, among many, many others.

And of course, in the hardcore, metalcore and punk scenes of today, DIY is blazing through at rapid rates.   Beartooth and Vanna are playing house shows.  Terror is refusing to use a producer on their latest album, The 25th Hour. FrnkIero andthe Cellebration‘s debut record, Stomachaches, was recorded in a basement in full before a label ever saw it. The Ongoing Concept are hand making all of their instruments for their upcoming record aptly titled Handmade.

So is this the future of the music industry? Finding ways to bypass the enormous fees people lose from having to pay venues to play or sell merch?  Finding ways to bypass the ridiculous costs of working in a studio?  Finding ways to bypass the very nature of affording instruments (why not make ’em yourself)?  Perhaps.  And truly, I find this to be a rather endearing sentiment.  But, naturally, there’s a catch. Major labels are picking up EDM artists.  Grizzly Bear will remain decidedly broke if they simply bank off of their own touring and record sales for income. Vanna is playing house shows between dates of large venue tours. FrnkIero andthe Cellebration have the clout created by Frank Iero’s time in My Chemical Romance to get them noticed more. And in the end, these great sentiments and artistic routes are merely artists finding ways to do things better than the ways of the set systems, better in favor of the artist, not the labels or iTunes or Spotify, etc.  Unfortunately, YouTube, Facebook, Instagram and other promotional platforms are benefiting and–in the vein of Facebook–profiting off of these promotions seemingly done on the artists’ own.

“When I grow up I’m going to be an artist and not a cover girl.”

–“Cover Girl” by The Ongoing Concept

“Out of student loans and tree house homes we all would take the latter.”

–“Stressed Out” by twenty one pilots

The major problem with going DIY in today’s world is expressed perfectly in these paralleled lyrics.  The mentality and sentiment to be a true artist is stronger than ever, but so are financial pressures. Living in NYC, one of the major cultural hubs of the world is hella expensive.  For $1,500 a month you can find yourself in an apartment the size of a closet with a job that allots only $30,000 a year before taxes.  That math doesn’t quite add up.  Student loans are increasingly sought after leaving art kids who have spent their whole lives being told to go to college in immense debt with nothing but low income, entry level jobs to look forward to in order to offset it. These financial realities are forcing the movements of various musical scenes out of major modern cultural hubs because no one can afford to actually be located in these places like they were back in 1979.  The Bowery is now a hip and almost bourgeois section of Manhattan, no longer the artist slums of the city. Brooklyn is the most expensive neighborhood in America. To be DIY nowadays, you  have to have a trust fund or those crappy minimum wage gigs in which you can actually fund all of the stuff your labelless music can’t and pay for people to see your band’s Facebook posts. You really have to suffer for your art or move somewhere cheaper yet less opportune.

Jay-Z’s catastrophic self-supporting streaming service, Tidal, is simply the latest example of a DIY facade in the industry.  Instead of marketing Tidal to the artists who desperately needed that kind of self-serving support and funding, however, it immediately became an elitist platform.  Madonna, Jack White and Beyonce were all names included on the promotional roster, however, bands like Vanna, The Ongoing Concept and FrnkIero andthe Cellebration were not.  In fact, it would make more sense to see Gerard Way’s solo project appear on this streaming service’s campaign rather than Frank Iero’s simply because Way is backed by a bigger label and therefore is a bigger name in the modern media’s eye. (Staple Records vs. Warner Bros. Records; Warner Bros. will always win.)  By carving out a niche hole, the entire notion that musicians can survive off of their work is still being dominated by the “giants” in the industry who feel they have some semblance of a say on who should and should not be promoted.  Jay-Z is helping to create a hierarchy that will rule out any artist in need of a more profitable outlet than Spotify or Pandora.

So where do we go from here? Yes, in many instances, bands like twenty one pilots can be hated for their quick ascension and immediate backing by “scene-driven” powerhouses like Alternative Press and Fueled by Ramen, but at the same time, we are still watching people like Pete Wentz extend the grappling hook to struggling artists to make it big, to bring them up to a mainstream level instead of reaching out to names already on par with the pop culture greats of today, unlike Jay-Z’s actions.  Without Wentz, the world wouldn’t have Panic! At The Disco the way they are known.  There potentially wouldn’t be a surge in pop punk or as significant an emo revival.  While this is still in a sense “selling out,” it is the lesser of two evils.

“Wake up you need to make money.”

–“Stressed Out” by twenty one pilots

“Don’t be the print of someone else’s painting.”

–“Cover Girl” by The Ongoing Concept

Is there a way to stay original and make money without selling out? Can you truly do it on your own in today’s world? While twenty one pilots may have been picked up by Fueled By Ramen, at least they were not completely overtaken by FBR’s parent label Atlantic Records.  There still is a sense of obscurity around them, obscurity, however, in a way that is still boosting them to the tops of festival line-ups and tour bills.  The Ongoing Concept, however, will go down in a history recorded by low budget bloggers and retrospective hardcore fanatics for making all of their instruments by hand, yet chances are they will not make it to radio play or ever grace magazine covers.

But then again, maybe there is hope.  Kory Grow and Grayson Haver Currin over at Rolling Stone seem to like Beartooth and Marmozets, respectively, enough to have given them print coverage–even if it was in the form of a blurb.  So where is the line drawn for acceptably selling out?  Fall Out Boy was right when they said, “This ain’t a scene/It’s a goddamn arms race.”  It all depends on what bands find the right weapons and how/if they choose to use them to get places.  Until then, I’ll stay happy in my DIY realm with a bartending gig to fund my writing.  The Ongoing Concept will continue to shine in their niche scene with their skills in both instrumentals and woodshop.  FrnkIero andthe Cellebration will still have way more communal gigs in dingy basements than Gerard Way could ever hope to accomplish playing his large venue shows.  twenty one pilots can continue to ride their wave and Jay-Z can make attempts to support his elite and shut himself off from the rest of the industry all together.

So I ask you, where did the DIY party truly go? I think I would like to be a member of that secret Facebook group.

Music Video Of The Week: Marmozets “Why Do You Hate Me?”

marmozets why do you hate me

The video for Marmozets‘ “Why Do You Hate Me?” throws it back to late ’60s/early ’70s era punk with mod fashion and avant-garde, Warholesque photography. Frame splicing, time dilations, and grainy black & whites mix with neon-saturated takes for an art piece rather than just a run of the mill music vid. Taken from the band’s impressive debut record, The Weird and Wonderful Marmozets, “Why Do You Hate Me” flaunts the UK act’s particular brand of hard alternative punk. The stellar songwriting combined with Becca MacIntyre’s dynamic vocals that shift effortlessly between smooth cleans and gritty screams are both vintage and modern, mimicked by the music video in its visual style. Marmozets have their hands in several genres at once and it’s clear anything and everything is up for grabs.

Music Video of the Week: ’68 “Track 1 R”

'68

Fans of The Chariot have probably heard of vocalist Josh Scogin’s latest project, the highly unconventional duo that is the band ’68.  Scogin, who plays guitar as well as sings for the duo, and drummer Michael McClellan formed ’68 back in 2013, but didn’t get their ten track debut full-length, In Humor and Sadness, out to the public until the summer of 2014. Having toured with bands across the scene from Chiodos to Stick To Your Guns, ’68 represents a side of Scogin that was formerly seen in underground house shows that The Chariot would play but amped up on steroids.  With one of the best live shows out there right now, this experimental, in-your-face, stripped down, raw sound is incredibly conveyed both sonically as well as visually.

Scogin and McClellan feed off of one another more than the audience while performing live. They set their positions up to face one another and literally go all out.  If you want to ever get lost in the music simply take a trip to a ’68 show and forget all of your troubles and worries within the duo’s crazy antics and love of distortion. Perhaps the best way to visually depict a ’68 performance is found in the music video for “Track 1 R,” sometimes also just referred to as “R.”  This highly minimal video creates the true atmosphere of a Scogin-McClellan performance so much so that the pulled back visuals suddenly feel more complex and out of the box.  So sit back, relax, and lose yourself with this amazing band and their first single off of In Humor and Sadness.

Interview with Imran Xhelili of Awake At Last

Photo by Tom Flynn
Photo by Tom Flynn

Listening to Awake At Last is like listening to a fusion of 2005 alternative, old school pop punk and a modern 2015 edge all tied together into one sonic boom of melodic energy.  When the five piece takes the stage at Staten Island’s esteemed underground venue, Hashtag Bar, a hush echoes over the audience as the entire stage turns dark, pausing to relieve the dramatic tension as the first few chords come in.  Cue spotlights.

Awake At Last are living proof that musicians can still bear their souls to a crowd, even in today’s world of manufactured media.  There’s nothing fake about AAL.  Whether it’s tracks like “Love You To Death” or an amped rock cover of  “Rude,” watching the five twenty-somethings on stage is one of the most honest performances you’ll ever come across.  “We definitely always bring our A-game as far as energy and stage presence,” explains guitarist Imran Xhelili.  “We’re really interactive with the crowd, getting in the crowd’s face, getting everyone excited while always trying to be as tight as possible with our set and having everything well played.”

Xhelili not only has one of the coolest last names out there, but also has one of the coolest jobs as a key part of Awake At Last’s rhythm section.  Brought in to Awake At Last after meeting vocalist Vince Torres through various shows with his previous band, Xhelili helped round out the group when Torres decided to move from rhythm guitar to just vocals.  This new lineup would eventually help saturate the overall visually aesthetic of the group’s live performance. “Awake At Last has a very high energy stage presence,” explains Xhelili. “We’re definitely rock at the core of it and there’s a lot of alternative and pop punk influences,  a lot of musicality behind it, but at the same time it’s very accessible and catchy to your ear.”

Greene (left) and Xhelili (right) live at the Hashtag Bar, photo by Taylor Markarian
Greene (left) and Xhelili (right) live at the Hashtag Bar, photo by Taylor Markarian

The five piece is known for their intimate club shows as they’ve been touring across the country spreading their sound with new and old fans alike. “Usually when we play there isn’t a barricade,” says Xhelili, “so we just get to be nice and up front with the fans.” Standing in the crowd, it’s always captivating to watch as Torres jumps into the crowd during the performance of the single, “King of the World.”  With Xhelili, bassist Tyler Greene and guitarist Eric Blackway owning the stage like they actually rule the world, “King of the World” is easily the fan favorite for best live track.

Though constantly touring, the guys in Awake At Last still find time to write as they are currently working on their next, still untitled release. “We’re doing a lot of writing for the new EP, a lot of demoing back and forth,” explains Xhelili.  “We each contribute to the writing process, so it comes from a lot of different perspectives.  There’s a lot of really cool musical stuff going on, but it’s still really punky and catchy. Then there’s some that’s more heavy, but still kind of pop-ier, so a little of everything sprinkled in.”

Awake At Last are proof that honest, hard work pays off and that there really is no need to sell out or ever compromise musical integrity in the music industry any longer.  “I feel like a lot of people like to complain about what’s currently going on in the music scene and have nostalgic feelings for like ten years ago or when record sales were going well, but there’s always going to be change and obviously CD sales aren’t strong now.  But I think there’s always going to be good live shows and you can definitely still build a fan base and do everything.  I just feel like there’s a lot more going on in 2015.  If you know what you’re doing, you can really just push your career forward and you have more tools than ever in 2015.”

With new music on the horizon for fans to look forward to blasting in their cars and seeing live, you can currently catch Awake At Last on the road this spring for their headlining King of the World Tour.  In the meantime, sit back, relax, and check out the group’s new video for “King of the World” right here!

“Scene” is Not a Dirty Word

Music Stereotypes

What do you think of when you hear the word “scene”?   If you’re just the average Joe, you probably are thinking of the setting and actions of a play, a moment in your favorite movie, something built up and dramatized, or just something concrete to look at and remember. It can even reflect a culture or lifestyle as one major umbrella topic.

What a pretty scene here at the beach.  That’s my favorite scene in Almost Famous.  That neighborhood has such a cool skate scene.   It’s all good and dandy; that is, unless you are talking about the “scene” of the substream music world. Then it becomes a dreaded word.

I am talking about the -core bands, the non-mainstream pop punk movements, and offshoots of metal that help make up Warped Tour lineups, Hot Topic trends, and give magazines like us, Alt Press, and Rocksound something to write about.  While the varying sounds and genres of all of these bands may not overlap, their fan followings, press coverage, and tours usually do. What’s the most logical term to use to describe that? Scene, of course.

Growing up with the music that I liked, the shows that I went to, and the people that I hung out with, I always just referred to it as my “scene.”  Of course, as I was referring to this the term, “scene kid” started to replace the term “emo” and became just as degrading or offensive.  In fact, as I started to interview bands, if I referred to anything such as “this music scene” or “the scene your band stemmed from,” they’d typically try to correct me and say they didn’t want to call it a scene, however, they never really offered another term for it to go by.

Scene Feature

The problem with this realm of the music world is that it’s not fully hardcore, it’s not fully punk, it’s not fully metal, it’s not fully pop.  It’s a strange mixture of sounds with a varying range.  Why can State Champs, Blood On The Dance Floor, Vanna, Terror, and Attack Attack! all be offered the same opportunities from Kevin Lyman if they have (for the most part) opposing sounds?  Well, because many of their values and audiences overlap.  The fact that many of these “diehard” or overbearing children of the MySpace age (myself included) became labeled as scene kids for how they looked, acted, and what they listened to is not a product of the music, it’s a product of the time.  Sure, generic stereotypes came out of wearing intense side bangs that covered your entire face, crazy dyed hair, skinny ties (usually as anything but a tie), highlighter colored vans, and rubber band bracelets a mile long up your arms, but we loved and rocked that look.  And who were the people who hated on the scene kids? The metal heads and the hardcore kids?  Basically the kids so involved with the offshoots of this substream world that they knew what to look for to hate on scene kids. Please allow me to also wear immense amounts of black and a Metallica shirt from their thrash age that I lifted from my dad, or immense amounts of flannel shirts in varying colors with my square rimmed glasses and a Texas in July beanie. Trust me, I can willingly and gladly rock all of the fashions and support all of the styles of music associated with metal and hardcore, too.

When we talk about scene, the negatives trend around a previous fashion, style, and look characterizing a generation for the most part that has now grown up.  But why is that term still so negative?  “Emo” was hated for years.  My Chemical Romance, the band who reportedly “Wouldn’t front the scene if you paid me,” denounced being emo, and guess what?  They went down in history for 1. fronting the scene and 2. being one of the most influential “emo” rock bands to break the mainstream (and still didn’t sell out to do it, I might add).  Now look at the music headlines.  Everyone is talking about the “emo revival” that’s upon us.  It’s being lauded for what it was and the upcoming bands that influenced it.  Emo had been a stereotype associated with a style, sound, and negative actions of self harm.  That’s why people hated it, because they all believed that kids who listened to it were mopey and in need of psychological help.  That’s gross, and widely untrue.  Associating a sound with one particular mental state is an invalid overgeneralization.  A sound that helps inspire someone in need is what music is all about however, and emo was the poster child of that movement.  A band doesn’t literally save someone’s life, but the connection and inspiration one gets from listening to music that relates to them does.

Eventually emo would open the doors for the term “scene” since it is, first and foremost, just a noun referring to a collective state or following of something.  That’s it, a noun.  It’s not all-inclusive or exclusive and doesn’t mean you can’t break out of it.  Look at Of Mice & Men or A Day To Remember or even Blink-182.  They started somewhere, with a certain scene, and branched out, but are still loved by the fans that first helped jumpstart their careers. When turned into an adjective, however, for some reason “scene” is a dirty word because guitarist so-and-so and vocalist whatshisname don’t want to be crowned “the poster child of Hot Topic” or whatever their shallow qualms may be.  Why? Hot Topic probably sells your band’s T-shirt, and you know damn well you probably want people to buy and wear your band’s name.  That’s why people make music: to share it with other people.

So in defense of the scene kid, the emo, the hardcore kid and the metal head, all terms I’ve been labeled for how I dress, act, and what I listen to, I say fucking own your title.  Those aren’t negatives because people say it with snark or try to avoid it.  By not owning what and who you are you give power to those who want to put those phrases down.  So in defense of the music SCENE that I am heavily involved in, largely in love with, and have been for the majority of my life, I refuse to not use that term when referring to this musical collective and lifestyle.

It’s difficult to always say “the musical substream of the bands that are widely accepted on Warped Tour and through offshoots of ’90s metal,’80s hardcore and pop punk.” That’s exhausting and takes forever to type. Let’s just call it what it is. It’s our music scene.  It’s fun, diverse, ever-changing and something we should be proud to be associated with.  We don’t have to be scene kids.  We just have to love our scene and know that it’s okay to call it that.

Music Video of the Week: Opheon “The Distance”

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This week’s pick for MVW is the 5 minute visuals paired with Opheon‘s “The Distance.”  Though theme-wise the video is fairly minimal–the basic images of the band playing live cut to footage of the vocalist singing on his own–it is the song that we are so impressed with.  The British melodic hardcore rockers went from a very djent-oriented sound that has been regurgitated time and time again to something far more progressive, innovative, and new to the -core scene.  With stylized breakdowns, actual melodies, and even a guitar solo (can you believe those still exist?), this track reaches a level of sophistication that warrants a minimal video and lets the music speak for itself.  Don’t believe us? Then check it out and see for yourself, because when they drop their upcoming 2015 EP it’s destined to hit the top of your favorite playlists.

Senses Fail Release “All You Need Is Already Within You”

Senses Fail have released their first new single of 2015, a b-side from their upcoming record Pull The Thorns From Your Heart. A decidedly heavier track than anything from the band’s first few albums, this single takes the more hardcore punk-oriented sounds of their 2013 record, Renacer, even further. “All You Need Is Already Within You” will be one of four tracks to be released on a special split with Man Overboard on March 3rd, available for pre-order NOW.

Catch Senses Fail on tour with Bayside, Man Overboard, and Seaway.

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